What Does Authentic Mean?


You’ll have to pardon my ‘define the word before asking the real question’ title. I’m taking a philosophy course. 

The reason I ask this question is because now that my novel is out in the world, I’m supposed to be, ew, yuck, marketing. You’d think I have a clue. I’ve built a great brand before. My instincts should be on point.  

All my instincts are saying is that I’m starting from scratch and good luck sister. New industry, not a typical product, and new thought leaders and tactics mean what worked a few years ago no longer does. Or at least not the same.   

What’s a fledgling novelist who moonlights as an angel investor and fire dancer supposed to do? No really, I’m asking you.   

All I can point to is build a great product, or write the best book I can at the time, get the word out, and write more. So, I’m writing more. This blog. The next book. Papers for my philosophy prof (which is what I should be writing now with a dealine tomorrow).   

I wonder if I’m being authentic though. Then I wonder what that word really means and how we’ve been using it lately. What people want is consistency. What people are is a bit more nuanced.   

From the Cambridge Dictionary: If something is authentic, it is real, true, or what people say it is.   

1 a: worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; ex. paints an authentic picture of our society 

b: conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features; ex. an authentic reproduction of a colonial farmhouse 

c: made or done the same way as an original; ex. authentic Mexican fare 

2: not false or imitation : REAL, ACTUAL an authentic cockney accent 

3: true to one's own personality, spirit, or character; is sincere and authentic with no pretensions   

In the words of Dr. Christopher Robichaud, who is teaching me how to do Philosophy with Superheroes (no joke…I get grad level credit, and now I understand why), there’s a lot to unpack here.   

When it comes to sharing my thoughts and ideas, it appears the most helpful definition is the last one. To be authentic is to be true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.   

I think this is my disconnect. There are a lot of voices living in this person of mine, and they don’t all seem connected on the surface. What does fire dancing have to do with venture capital? What aboutgrowing and mixing my own skincare treatments? Is that all personal, to be cordoned off in a box somewhere and not brought up? Is it inauthentic to not share the many disparate pieces of me if I’m sharing, well, me?   

Does it matter that Batman hides the fact that he’s a rich boy? Or that he pretends to be a careless playboy, just to throw off the scent? Yes, this is a topic from class. There are plenty ofreasons/excuses/justifications for his conscious deception, but does that make it ok? I’m not telling, I’m asking what you think. Because philosophy, good philosophy, is coming up with your own truth. What about conscious withholding of information?   

Anyway, for me, it means that I’m blogging daily again, about whatever subject my brain decides to obsess over that day. Maybe I’ll figure some things out. Maybe my writing will improve. Or maybe I’ll get over this fear of being seen that I know is a common affliction in this world of ours.    

One more question that I brought up in class, because I’m THAT person. What about Santa Claus? If we tell kids it’s wrong to lie…